Steelers News

Tomlin Tips His Cap To Dolphins For Doing What They Couldn’t: ‘They Made The Necessary Plays To Secure Victory And We Didn’t’

The Pittsburgh Steelers were able to get their starting quarterback, rookie Kenny Pickett, back on the field for Sunday night’s game in spite of the fact that he suffered a concussion a week earlier, during a time in which awareness of concussions and return turnover at a cultural high point.

While things certainly could have gone better, there was nothing in his play that indicated there were any issues stemming from the hit that he took last week. But while he may be healthy, he still failed to step up in the critical moment, throwing two interceptions in the final few minutes, three for the game.

There will be growing pains for any young player, but this was certainly a brutal moment for the young rookie. The final interception in particular was a poor decision thrown right in the direction of Noah Igbinoghene, who sealed the game at the goal line with the Steelers only trailing six.

And there’s the kicker. The game was within reach. They shut the Dolphins out in the second half—in fact there were no points scored at all in the second half by either team. The Steelers had 2nd and 2 on the Dolphins’ 25-yard line. It was a forced play, and proved to be extremely costly. They find the end zone and they win.

“I thought he was highly competitive. I thought he played to win. I thought he made some plays. Unfortunately, he and we didn’t make enough”, head coach Mike Tomlin said after the game, referring to the three picks the Dolphins recorded off of his rookie quarterback, and the four or so shots his own defense had at turning the ball over but failed to.

“I’ll just tell you this. We had some interception opportunities and we gotta catch them”, was all Tomlin would say about the numerous potential interceptions his defensive backs dropped. Levi Wallace had two. Terrell Edmunds allowed one right through his arms. And Cameron Sutton was unable to complete another that he highpointed.

“They made the necessary plays to secure victory”, he added about the Dolphins, “and really, we didn’t”.

Now, would all of those interceptions have made a difference in the game? Almost undoubtedly no. Did the plays the Dolphins’ defenders make? Absolutely. Having two interceptions in your own end of the stadium in the final five minutes of the game while up by only six is certainly going to have a tremendous impact.

It wasn’t so long ago that the Steelers were still leading the NFL in interceptions—they were still third heading into this week—but that was because they stacked up the turnovers in week one. The well has gone largely dry since then.

Minkah Fitzpatrick had three interceptions in his first four games, but none since. Of course, that’s only a span of three games, and he missed one of them. But you had better believe he wanted to get one against his former team. They all wanted one. Many of them had a shot. They all failed. And the Steelers lost, while they had to watch their counterparts make the plays they should have been making.

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